Beware marketing case studies because they’re mostly pants

Case studies don’tcha love ’em?  They drive me  a little bit nuts.  Let me try and explain with a few examples:
Apple.  Yes it’s a fabulous brand.  Yes it’s hugely successful.  But every single commentator attributes Apple’s success to something different.  It’s all about user experience.  No it’s because people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.  No it’s because it unleashed your inner creativity.  Or it’s a tribute to the personal vision of one man.  Some or all of these may be true. But most of the people presenting the case studies don’t work for Apple.  What does that tell you?
Dove.  I admire Dove as much as the next man.  I even know the background to the firming lotion campaign which initiated the ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’.  But where is it in their marketing?  It’s gone.  Disappeared.  Lost.  Last weekend I saw advertising for Dove’s hair care and antiperspirant and they don’t even have any reference to CFRB.  In truth it’s been missing for some years.  It’s just a casting brief and a white background.  Which is nice, but it hardly justifies all the excitement about brands with purpose, making the world a better place, testament to Unilever’s commitment to sustainable living blah blah etc.
Virgin.  You never hear two accounts of Virgin which have anything in common, except we can broadly agree they’re a challenger brand.  And they’re red.  True deeply meaningful brand essence or matching luggage?  You decide.
I used to have a boss who often presented Direct Line Insurance as the paradigm of marketing success.  My next boss after that would hold up Direct Line as the kind of marketing we should avoid at all costs.  I give in.
All great brands.  All useless case studies.  IMHO.

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